Inter Miami suffered a 3-0 defeat against D.C. United on Sunday, disappointing the sellout crowd of 15,954 at DRV PNK Stadium.
The loss saw the club fall to 11th place on the Eastern Conference table, with a record of two wins, two draws and four losses.
D.C. United's Ola Kamara opened the scoring in the 15th minute before Paul Arriola doubled their lead just six minutes later. The home side couldn't find any rhythm and eventually let in a third in the second half as Kamara scored his second.
Injuries and last minute changes saw Inter Miami’s starting 11 feature new faces, bringing in Christian Makoun and Julián Carranza for their first starts of the season. Head coach Phil Neville insists, however, that a lack of results on the pitch was not caused by any certain player.
Many speculated whether the MLS sanctions against Inter Miami impacted the way Neville and his players approached the game. The day prior, MLS announced the club faced a $2m fine for violating roster and salary regulations. Though the players and their contracts were not impacted by the league’s investigation, MLS’ statement inspired comotion.
Neville clarified that the situation could not be used as an excuse for the disastrous performance on the pitch.
He said: “We told the players yesterday, they were aware of the punishment the night before. We said to the players this is not something that should affect you on the pitch because the players haven't been affected by it.
"The club has and we take responsibility as a club and we got to make sure that we do that, but ultimately the performance, the result and what happens on the pitch and what happens is my job is to coach the team. The players' job is to go out there and perform on the field, whatever happens away from that is not a distraction for us.
"The sanctions were not something that we spoke about that much, and cannot use it as an excuse tonight.”
Inter Miami player Lewis Morgan agreed with Neville and confirmed that as players the sanctions cannot be blamed for the result.
“The investigation and sanctions are above the players’ thought process even, we just went straight to playing and the management went straight to managing. I wouldn’t say that what went on tonight or anything is a result of the investigation, no.”